After a very close finish the 40th edition of La Solitare du Figaro ends in Dieppe
In the sport of offshore racing it just doesn’t get closer than this year’s Solitiare du Figaro. After 511 miles of intense competition, the 52-boat fleet finished its fourth and final leg yesterday afternoon in Dieppe. Right to the very end, it was almost impossible to pick the winner.
The 10 leading boats crossed the line within a little under 12 minutes of each other. It was Antoine Koch (Sopra Group) who crossed first, followed by Nicolas Troussel (Credit Mutuel de Bretagne) and Thomas Rouxel (Defi Mousquetaires). But the big winner was fourth placed Nicolas Lunven (CGPI, pictured), who took the overall title.
It took Koch 3 days, 58 minutes and 48 seconds to complete the distance from Dingle, on Ireland’s west coast, at an average speed of 7 knots – the fastest of the four legs sailed. A fast reach across the Irish Sea threatened to be ended by a long slow crawl up the English Channel to the Needles, but the weather proved more co-operative and it was only on Tuesday night that the fleet really slowed.
The last stage must have been particularly anxious for 26 year-old Nicolas Lunven, defending the narrowest of leads in the overall rankings since the end of the second leg. Having left Dingle with an advantage of just under six minutes over Yann Elies (Generali), at the Needles this had turned into a four minute and 18 second deficit in favour of Frederic Duthil (Bbox Bouygues Telecom).
In the final reckoning Lunven did enough to keep Elies in second, by 20 minutes and 29 seconds, and Duthil third.
It was a good day for British skipper Nigel King too. He stormed through the final leg to finish in an impressive sixth place, only nine-and-a-half minutes behind Koch. Fellow Brit Jonny Malbon (Artemis) finished the leg in 36th place, 1 hour and 54 minutes after the winner. After a poor start he clawed his way back up the fleet, finishing in his best position of the four legs, and continuing a consistently upward trend.
Final top ten
1. Nicolas Lunven, CGPI
2. Yann Elies, Generali
3. Frederic Duthil, Bbox Bouygues Telecom
4. Thierry Chabagny, Suzuki Automobiles
5. Michel Desjoyeaux, Foncia
6. Nicolas Troussel, Credit Mutuel De Bretagne
7.Gildas Morvan, Cercle Vert
8. Nicolas Berenger, Kone Elevators
9. Erwantabarly, Athema
10. Charles Benac Caudrelier, Bostik
For a complete list of the final results, visit www.lasolitaire.com .